Christmas Time's A-Comin'
One of my favorite Christmas songs is old Bill Monroe bluegrass classic called "Christmas Time’s A-Comin'", a song that paints a picture of a rural observance of the Christmas season, a down to earth way of celebrating with the emphasis on spending time with family and friends and the simple joy of going home at Christmas to be with loved ones in nostalgic, familiar surroundings.
Most of my early Christmases were overshadowed by the Second World War and the overriding reality that many would be spending Christmas in a cold foxhole somewhere on the other side of the world so that those of us in America could spend Christmas and every other day of the year in comfort and safety.
The war was never far from the families who lived on the Eastern Seaboard, as German submarines prowled the waters just off our coast to pick off the cargo ships loaded with war goods and headed for our troops in Europe.
But even a world war can’t spoil a Christmas for those in single digits who still believed in Santa. It seemed like the entire world turned into a celebration, with special radio programs, the whole town decked out in red and green and a very large hardwood tree that was transformed every Christmas with thousands of lights, which at that time seemed the eighth wonder of the world to the youngsters in Wilmington, North Carolina.
It was known simply as "The Christmas Tree" and - at that time - was the probably the biggest fully-lighted full-grown tree outside the one set up in Rockefeller Center in New York City every year and drew visitors from all over the area.
The Annual Christmas Parade, always at night, the colorful floats interspersed with marching bands always highlighted by the performance of the Williston High School Band blasting out some familiar Christmas song louder and prouder than anybody else.
And finally, at the tail end of the long parade, the sum total of all our Christmas dreams, the big man himself, smiling and ho-ho-ho-ing, Santa Claus, sitting high up in a sleigh loaded on a trailer and pulled, not by eight flying reindeer, but an ordinary automobile.
But the missing reindeer and the miracle of Santa being able to move from a downtown department store to a sleigh traveling down Front street in the twinkling of an eye never cast even a tiny aspersion on my rock solid belief in the beloved fat man who was able to cover the entire planet in one night, remember the desires of millions of young hearts and climb down chimneys a squirrel would have trouble traversing, not to mention the wood stoves at the bottom of many of them.
It would be many years and many miles before I would truly understand the real meaning of Christmas and the miracle of miracles, the gift of gifts that had taken place in a small provincial town in Israel over two thousand years ago, when the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, the Way, the Truth and the Life, the Savior of mankind would be born, not in a palace or a mansion, but an ordinary barn surrounded by livestock.
The night that Heaven must have been bursting at the seams as hosts of heavenly angels were singing and praising God in the skies above Israel and the good news was first given, not to the king or the Roman occupiers or the religious hierarchy, but to shepherds who were keeping watch over their sheep that night.
The circumstances of Jesus’s birth, the kind of blue collar, working class people who were first given the news and were the first humans to see him besides his parents, gives us insight into the humility, the meekness and the "no respecter of persons" nature of our Creator and His approach to delivering the greatest gift mankind was to ever be given.
So each year we celebrate Christmas, and, yes I agree that we have allowed it to become commercialized, and think it’s silly and wrong for people to be so politically correct they can’t even say MERRY CHRISTMAS, or take delight in disillusioning bright eyed little children about the existence of Santa Claus, but as long as we remember the real reason we do it, that we are celebrating the earthly arrival of Man’s only hope of salvation, in my humble opinion, bring it on.
Bring on the lights, the music, the noise and the Christmas trees, the presents, the jolly old elf himself, the gathering together of friends and family, the very special ambiance that touches even the most case-hardened heart in some way and gives us pause to remember Christmas past, and the dearly departed friends and family we spent it with.
I love Christmas and Christmas Eve is my very favorite day of the year.
We attend early services at our church and return home to spend the evening with family and friends sharing food and drink and enjoying each other’s company.
At the end of the evening, I always read Saint Luke’s version of the birth of our Lord Jesus, my story, “A Carolina Christmas Carol,” and have a prayer.
So, from the bottom of the hearts of myself, my family, the cowboys at Twin Pines Ranch and all the folks at the CDB, Merry CHRISTmas, Planet Earth.
What do you think?
Pray for our troops, our police and the peace of Jerusalem.
God Bless America
— Charlie Daniels
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Check out "Mudcat" from Beau Weevils - 'Songs in the Key of E'